Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports

Gordon Hayward is a gamer, and not just on the basketball court

Sam Alberti
July 14, 2017 - 2:11 pm

Gordon Hayward is a gamer, and not just an NBA gamer.

Friday afternoon, Hayward sent out a tweet showing off a picture of his new "gaming rig".

For fans that have followed Hayward throughout his career, this tweet makes perfect sense. For those just beginning to learn about the Celtics' newest addition, it may be more confusing.

The first the NBA world really learned of Hayward's gaming connection came in 2011, when he created a parody of LeBron James' 2010 decision to play for the Miami Heat, in which he decided which eSports league he would be joining.

It didn't stop there. In 2014, Hayward announced on twitter and wrote on his website, that he would crush James, and other NBA stars in League of Legends.

"One on one versus LeBron James? He would get crushed. We would all be witnesses to a straight up annihilation," Hayward wrote. "The reigning MVP, Kevin Durant? I’m LOLing. Go ahead and put him with Russell Westbrook. Throw Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard in there, just for kicks. They’d still have no chance. Honestly, take any five NBA players you want and put them on the same squad. It doesn’t really matter. I’d beat them all. It would be like playing a bunch of kindergartners. I repeat: I’m the best in the game. And probably in all the other major sports, too. No athlete on earth is as good at League of Legends as I am."

In a 2014 interview with the League of Legends Championship Series, Hayward made further comments on the relation between basketball and League of Legends. 

“I was always an avid video game player. I’m just a competitor and video games is another outlet for that. … I play a lot. Usually I bring my laptop so I can play on the road, just depending on the internet," Hayward stated. "There’s actually a lot of similarities between competitive video games and competitive sports. Basketball and League of Legends in particular, … obviously there’s the five on five aspect, but everyone kind of has a roll. When you watch [League of Legends> the teams that are the best at communication usually do the best, and that’s exactly how it is in basketball.”

Throughout Hayward's life he has always had a strong passion of gaming. Before his free agency decision, "Thank You, Utah", was the hottest piece on Player's Tribune, he wrote a Tribune article titled "The Case for Gaming" in 2016.

The piece begins with Hayward stating how nervous he was, as still a recruit, asking coach Brad Stevens for permission to play in a Halo tournament.

"Uhhhh, okay, let me look into that and get back to you," was Stevens' response.

He then went on to talk about what it was like growing up playing video games with his father and friends.

"To us, video games have never been thought of as a fad or something strictly for “nerds.” They were just fun moving puzzles that required hand-eye coordination and an active mind. And they’ve always been around," wrote Hayward.

He highlights his competitiveness, how it didn't just exist in basketball or tennis, but would carry over into video games.

"With Halo, the competition aspect was taken to another level," Hayward explains. "I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thrown a controller across the room in anger or roared in excitement after a well-placed frag got me a triple kill. My mom would always know when I came upstairs from the basement whether or not I had moved up in rank or moved down. She knew to leave me alone for a little bit if I stormed up to my room and slammed the door. Or if I came up and was super talkative, she knew that I had won," 

Regardless of what fans may think about gaming, it is clear that gaming will always be an important part of Hayward's life, and more people will eventually come around.

"I’m going to keep lugging around my Razer laptop on road trips so I can get a few games of League in after morning shootaround. I’m a 100 percent unapologetic gamer. And you should be, too," Hayward concluded.

And just in case you were wondering about that Halo tournament.

"Coach Stevens eventually gave me the green light to play in that Halo tournament, by the way. We won. Owned some noobs. No big deal."

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